Project Dragonfly, a seven-year-old Miami University program promoting childrens science investigation, spreads its wings in a new direction with the January broadcast of a new series, "DragonflyTV."
Dragonfly began as an idea in Miamis School of Interdisciplinary Studies (Western College Program) and has expanded to include national partnerships that have resulted in magazines, a Web site and a teachers guide. The latest component, "DragonflyTV," will air on Public Broadcast stations nationwide, making it the only childrens science series currently in production. The first episode airs Jan. 19 and will reach more than 40 million households.
The series is supported by a major grant from the National Science Foundation and matching funds from Best Buy. Chris Myers, professor of interdisciplinary studies at Miami and principal investigator on the grant, serves with other Miami faculty and staff to review scripts and advance Dragonflys mission of creating a national forum for childrens investigations.
The series, whose tag line is "real kids doing real science," is produced by TPT (Twin Cities Public Television) in St. Paul, Minn., the Emmy-award winning producers of the family science program "Newtons Apple."
Project Dragonflys other outreach programs include:
- Dragonfly Magazine, winner of a 1997 Parents Choice Gold Award. The first national magazine to publish childrens discoveries features investigations from across the country, scientists profiles and challenges for kids. Formerly published by Miami and the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), it is now an insert in Scientific Americans Explorations magazine.
- Dragonfly Web, www.muohio.edu/dragonfly/, winner of 10 awards for excellence. Articles from Dragonfly Magazine, extra interactive lessons and information for teachers are posted here.
- DragonflyQuest, a badge program for children in Girls Clubs and Boys Clubs. The program received a $300,000 grant from United Airlines.
- Dragonfly Workshops (graduate credit) for teachers. With a mix of in-person training and friendly online discussions, a "lesson incubator" and shared data, these workshops connect teachers to ideas and to each other. Grants from the state and others help them reach hundreds of teachers each year. Find them at www.dragonflyworkshops.org.
Myers and his wife, Lynne Born Myers, are creating teachers guides for each broadcast that will be inserts in Science Teacher magazine and Science and Children magazine (NSTA publications). Also, TV and magazine content is incorporated into the workshop Web site.
Other interdisciplinary studies faculty and staff who helped create the Dragonfly projects are Jamie Bercaw, Hays Cummins, Carolyn Haynes and Chris Wolfe. A deep desire to encourage childrens discovery is what drives Dragonfly. "Kids need to see themselves and their peers as investigators," says Myers.
Some PBS markets that will carry "Dragonfly TV":
New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Dallas, San Francisco, Dayton, Detroit, Portland and Orlando
Myers can be reached at email@example.com or (513) 529-5664. Try "DragonflyTV" online at http://pbskids.org/dragonflytv/